Title: "Buffalo Bill" At Home

Periodical: World

Date: November 19, 1890

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He Says Blackmail Prompted the Charges of Cruelty to His Indians.

Shortly before 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon the cabin passengers of La Normandie were brought up the bay on the steamboat John E. Moore. Col. Cody, better known as "Buffalo Bill," stood on the upper deck of the Moore and appeared to be in excellent health and spirits. As soon as he stepped ashore he was met by a WORLD reporter. He seemed prepared to refute the charges which have been made against him of ill treatment accorded the Indians he has been exhibiting throughout Europe. Mr. Cody was not at all backward in pronouncing the charges not only false but prompted by malicious motives.

"All the charges and insinuations," said he, "which have been so widely circulated in this country about my management of the Wild West are false, absolutely false, and there is not a scintilla of evidence to sustain them. Gen. O'Beirne, who figures so prominently in connection with those charges, is either the victim of misplaced confidence or is prompted by some other motives I do not understand. The stories originally started in a malicious attempt to blackmail me and injure my name in the eyes of the public."

"Yes," spoke up Nate Salsbury, who had just arrived on the scene, "the charges are all false and have been trumped up with the most malicious intent to injure Mr. Cody and myself. The Indians never had a better friend than 'Buffalo Bill.' No man has a kinder heart for the Indian than he. Then, too, his own business interests would not permit him to countenance brutality to those in his charge. In plain, unadulterated English the man who says 'Buffalo Bill' was cruel to the Indians is a liar. Both 'Buffalo Bill' and myself are disposed to be very lenient with Gen. O'Beirne. We believe him to be the innocent victim of misplaced confidence. The behavior of 'Buffalo Bill' Indians, wherever they have been, has been such as to reflect credit and respect upon the name of the North American Indian. Take the same number of white men, put them in the same position as the Wild West Indians, and if they acquit themselves as honorably as did our Indians, they deserve all credit.

"When 'Buffalo Bill' and myself saw the persistency and malignancy of these unfounded charges we decided to put the Wild West in Winter quarters in Strasburg, Germany, give up a number of money-making engagements and bring the Indians home, and let them tell the authorities at Washington just how they were treated. We disbanded, not because we were in financial trouble, nor because any rival exhibition was taking better than ours, but we have sacrificed over $25,000 to come here and vindicate our name and character from these unjust and vindictive onslaughts. The vindication which we received at Washington, when Secretary Noble, [1] on last Monday, thoroughly examined the Indians we brought here, and was convinced that all the charges were unfounded, is perfectly satisfactory to us, and I think if Gen. O'Beirne has any sense of manhood he will now come out openly and publicly admit the injustice of the charges made against us. If he fails to do it he alone must stand the consequences."

Speaking of the reported conflict in Hamburg between members of the Wild West and Carver's, a rival show, Mr. Cody said: "That story was a fabrication. We met Carver in Hamburg, and simply mopped the ground with his show as far as popularity was concerned."

Note 1: John Willock Noble (1831-1912) served as United States Secretary of the Interior between 1889 and 1893. [back]

Title: "Buffalo Bill" At Home

Periodical: World

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.015.04 (Crager scrapbook)

Date: November 19, 1890

Topics: Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Germany

Keywords: American Indians Extortion Passenger ships United States. Department of the Interior United States. Office of Indian Affairs Wild west shows

People: Carver, William F. (William Frank), 1840-1927 Noble, John W. (John Willcock), 1831-1912 O'Beirne, James Rowan, 1844-1917 Salsbury, Nathan, 1846-1902

Places: Hamburg (Germany) Strasburg (Germany) Washington (D.C.)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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